Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Moments of Truth

Are the folks playing revolution really about limiting spending and the size of government? One of my long-term agreements with honest and intellectually consistent libertarians is the need to reign in defense spending.

The Economist's Democracy in America blog rightly calls our current situation the "Warfare State," as the USA accounts for more than half of all military expenditures worldwide.

That means we're subsidizing "peace" on the backs of the US taxpayers, a point that isn't missed:

Slashing military spending will not only shrink government and help put us on a path to fiscal responsibility while stripping unaccountable, fat-cat defence contractors of hundreds of billions in corporate welfare. It will also strip foreigners, many of whom speak ridiculous languages, of large defence subsidies paid out of your pocket!

It isn't lost on the author that our nation's subsidization of peace currently includes two global conflicts, one a pre-emptive war.

What isn't mentioned is that, despite our jaw-droppingly profligate military budget, our nation has yet to subdue adversaries in two nations that could charitably be called "fourth rate powers."

The narrative used in American politics is that "supporting the troops" requires nothing more than spending more money on "defense," even though we rarely see the line items of where those funds distribute. We rarely see the shareholder reports from the companies landing government defense contracts. I suspect those distributions and reports are much higher dollar values than those recieved in the paychecks of our troops on the ground, their families or our veterans seeking assistance once back at home.

One other reason it is so difficult to make hard choices and scale back on "defense" spending is that political opponents (of any stripe) will immediately latch on to the funding cut and label the rational actor "un-American" or "spitting on veterans" as if the Lockheed-Martin contract is some blood covered hill.

And don't get me started about how much crap is added to defense appropriations bills in Congress because "who wants to vote against the troops?" is somehow allowed by the voters of this nation to be an effective political device.

Because the way we pay to secure the world's peace is one of the fundamental problems with our nation's economy.

HT The Daily Dish (with more links on this subject)


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